Common Craft: simple explanations of complicated stuff (or, how to survive zombie season in just three minutes.)

October 29, 2007

While many of us in higher education (and particularly us library-types) are really attached to learning by reading and writing, videos like the ones from Common Craft are a great reminder that sometimes a picture really is…well, you know.

My first post to this blog was about RSS feed readers, a technology to help you keep up with new information on the web. One of Common Craft’s most popular video explanations is also about RSS, so if you were waiting for the movie version, you’re in luck.

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Now maybe you’re already technologically-inclined enough that you don’t need “plain English” explanations of wikis or social networking. However, are you comfortable with your zombie attack survival skills? I thought not. Now here’s some information we can all use.

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Be safe out there, and Happy Halloween from the library. Stop by the reference desk on Halloween afternoon for a treat!

Sorry about all the updates: here are the links for the rss video and the zombie video for folks using feed readers.


October 26, 2007

Are you a geography whiz or a wannabe? Then check out Stateris-USA, a geography Tetris game to test your knowledge of the world.  This is a fun web site for people of all ages! Try USA, Africa, Europe, France, Netherlands, UK, or South Carolina (… I still haven’t figured out why these particular countries and among them all, the state of South Carolina?!) 

And if you really, really like to have fun with geography, try also this quiz. How good are you finding these hot spots on the map?mideast.jpg

The best surpise news!

October 22, 2007

golden_notebook.jpgAuthor Doris Lessing was taken by surprise as she became the oldest winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature this month. According to NPR, the British writer had been named as a candidate for the Nobel prize several times before, but she was still shocked to hear the news from  a crowd gathered in front of her home a few weeks ago.

Besides The Golden Notebook(1962), which is her best known novel, Lessing’s literary work has been praised for the depth of writing on “hot” political and social topics such as racism,  communism, feminism, or environmentalism.  At the age of 88, Lessing is still an active writer currently working on a new novel dealing with the damaging effects of World War I on people’s lives.  

Looking for a book to read? Here, in our college library, we have a collection of 13 books by Doris Lessing.  You may also visit our downtown Public Library with this author’s 21 titles for you to pick from, including The Golden Notebook.  Happy reading! 

A Vision of Students Today

October 18, 2007

As a collaborative class project, anthropology students at Kansas State University made this video “highlighting the most important characteristics of students today – how they learn, what they need to learn, their goals, hopes, dreams, what their lives will be like, and what kinds of changes they will experience in their lifetime.”  To get more background, visit their site.  As a librarian, it’s exciting and inspiring to see something made by students and about students.  I’d love to hear what students think.  Comments, anyone?

Get out! (it’s Blog Action Day)

October 15, 2007

Today is Blog Action Day, a day when bloggers everywhere are all writing about a single topic. This year’s topic is the environment, and there is no better way to appreciate the environment and our place in it than by getting outside.

But, you say, isn’t going to the library (or studying, or sitting at a computer reading blogs) the opposite of getting outside? Well, I’m glad you asked!

Our library has a fantastic collection of materials to support our Recreation Leadership (COCC) and Tourism and Outdoor Leadership (OSU-Cascades) programs, programs that are all about getting people outside. We have software for preparing customized topo maps, all kinds of travel and trail guides, and books to help you learn to cook outdoors, telemark ski, or avoid climbing accidents, just to highlight a few.

Cascades AdventuresIf you’re looking for guided adventures, you might also check out Cascades Adventures‘ outings schedule. These ultimate study breaks are open to the entire COCC/Cascades community (and friends, space permitting), and give you an opportunity to take advantage of the expertise of folks in our outdoor leadership programs. There, you don’t even have to read the manuals, someone else will have done it for you.

Now, stop by the library to get ready, then get out!

Reading (or listening) for fun

October 11, 2007

When was the last time you read a poem?  Or listened to a poem being read?  If you can’t even remember the last time you read or heard a poem, then stop everything and explore some of the options that are out there to help you make contact with poetry on a regular basis.  The best part is that there are a couple of great sites that provide audio clips of poems, so you can indulge even if you don’t have the time to sit down with anything other than required reading.  The Poetry Archive has lots of (mostly) contemporary poets reading their own work.  Think poetry is irrelevant to everyday life?  Think again.  You can browse The Poetry Archive by topic, so it’s easy to find something of interest to you.  You can also browse by poet or poem title.  If you have kids, they can visit The Children’s Archive.  Another excellent audio archive is called PENNsound.  It’s similar in conception to The Poetry Archive – modern poets reading their own works.  While you can’t browse in the same ways you can through The Poetry Archive, you can explore some of the interesting anthologies put together by PENNsound.  In addition to audio clips, PENNsound has video and longer podcasts.  Both of these sites are great ways to make poetry a part of your life!

Explore the world of wikis

October 9, 2007

Do you know what wikis are?  According to Wikipedia, the king of all wikis, a wiki is usually a collaborative website which can be edited by anyone with access to it!

Wikis have many applications, including sharing of knowledge within organizations or communities with specific interests. You can find a wiki on just about any subject!  Just try a search on Wetpaint or to look for subject-specific wikis.

You want to build your own wiki?  PeanutButterWiki, Wetpaint, and Wikia are some of the most popular free wiki services that allow you to create your own wiki community. Teachers, you can try to set up a wiki for the courses you teach! For more information on such services, you may see Wikipedia’s List of wiki farms.